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Dow Styrofoam Insulation Products Earn Cradle to Cradle Certification

Five insulation products from Dow Building Solutions, including a few Styrofoam products based on different materials, have achieved Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certification.

The C2C certification program, administered by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry (MBDC), assesses products and companies based on their material use, material reutilization (recycling, composting, etc.), use of renewable energy or energy efficiency, water use and quality, and social responsibility. Products are certified at one of four levels: basic, silver, gold or platinum.

Two of Dow's certified products earned silver certification, and the rest earned basic. Jay Bolus, VP of technical operations for MBDC, said that Dow hit high marks on energy, water and social responsibility issues. It was on the other points that they differed.

"They all have different characteristics of material health and reutilization," he said.

Dow's Styrofoam extruded polystyrene foam insulation and Safetouch fiberglass-free insulation both earned silver certification. Basic certification was given to Styrofoam SIS structural insulated sheathing, Styrofoam spray polyurethane foam insulation (CM series) and Thermax exterior insulation.

There are no good end-of-life solutions for the items that earned the basic level, Bolus said. The silver-earning products though, are able to be recycled.

"They do have a process to recover and reuse that material," he said. For example, Dow collects manufacturing scrap and job site scrap from the polystyrene insulation and feeds it back into their production system.

Any material health issues that Dow is facing are industry-wide issues, Bolus said, like the use of brominated flame retardants, blowing agents and other materials. And by seeking C2C certification for these products, Dow is able to work with MBDC and other companies working with the group to develop healthier alternative materials.

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